Sunday, August 12, 2018

Transparency.


I've been thinking a lot lately (if you end the sentence there, it could be the title of my autobiography) about the meaning of and prevalence of "transparency." In our modern world, it means being open and honest about something. In some regards, people being transparent about certain things has been hugely beneficial--mental health and addiction are the two things I immediately think of. People who are transparent about their issues assist others who might be facing similar problems, something that's priceless and really, up until very recently, hasn't been "a thing." 

However, there's a fine line between transparency and oversharing, and I think it's worth exploring a little bit. 

For every major celebrity who speaks out about their deep-seated struggles with mental illness or addiction, there's another one who casually jumps on the bandwagon just so they seem deep or on trend. For every excellent Instagram account about real people living real recovery, there's a girl posting crying selfies, tracks of mascara running down her cheeks in perfectly arranged symmetry (#depression). 

We live in a constantly connected culture. It's so easy to overshare the insignificant minutiae of everyday life when you're carrying around a web-enabled, camera-equipped connectivity machine in your pocket or hands all day every day. 

Transparency is important when it deals with real issues and when the main goal is to help people suffering overcome those issues by helping them realize they aren't alone. Oversharing is masking the fact that you had a bad day and cried about it and are now sharing pics or statuses to garner likes and sympathy. Those are two completely different things, and one of them needs to stop. 

In a world full of more intimate details than we could ever hope to be privy to, I think there's something to be said for opacity, or mystery. 

Strangers on the internet don't need to know what I just ate, what my latest DIY project was, anything about my relationships or personal life (really, this is no one's business ever. Gay, straight, ace, anything, I really don't need to know OR CARE about what happens with your love life, end of story), or how my outfit turned out. Some of them might want to know, but they don't need to know. Millennial white girl blogs are a dime a dozen--how conceited would I be if I thought mine was truly unique? 

Personally, nothing is sexier to me than mystery. And I mean "sexy" even in an unsexual way--it's just attractive and beautiful to meet or talk to someone who doesn't put it all out there. Who, like the moon, keeps part always hidden away from public view (if you're in a relationship with someone, though, there really shouldn't be secrets...that's the beginning of a Netflix murder series). The phrase, "leave something to the imagination" used to refer to clothing modesty. But now, what if it meant something of your personality? Your political or religious views? Your love life? Your sordid past? The heart under your floorboards? (Yep, just took it too far).

The next time you're tempted to share something, stop and ask some questions: why am I doing this? Who am I hoping will see it? Why do I want them to see it? Is it unique? Is it helping anyone? 

Of course, as of right now, the internet is free and open and you're allowed to share literally anything you want. I'm just saying...in a world of maybe too much transparency, there's an allure to keeping things in the shadows and leaving something to the imagination. 


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